Thread: Fad Diets
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Old 07-01-2010, 09:15 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by CoeyCoey View Post
This is an interesting thread. Protein versus carbs is a big debate. But here is what I have discovered. The high protein low carb people say carbs are bad. But if you really drill them, you will discover that they promote lots of fruits and vegetables with a lot of carbs. So, what they are really saying is processed carbs are bad. The high carb people say the exact same thing. So lets emphasize that point:

Processed carbs are bad, and they are bad because they have a lot of calories and very little nutrition. Does anyone disagree with this? .
Most low-carb advocates eat very little fruit. They advocate non-starchy vegetables which are high in fiber, and while they are proportionately high in carbs their total nutritional content calorie-wise is quite low. In the end, the LOW-carb requirement is satisfied. No one here is promoting a NO-carb diet.

Processed anything can be bad, whether it's carbs, fat, or synthetically reconstituted protein, even synthetic forms of vitamins. Natural whole foods are best.

Originally Posted by CoeyCoey View Post
Now, the high protein crowd will run studies with people on high carb diets versus high protein diets. But if you read the studies and not just the abstracts, they use things like potato chips, white bread, pasta, and other processed carbs to skew the studies to show the benefits of high protein. Anyone trying to sell you a fad diet is going to show you studies that are skewed to their way of thinking. Loren Cordain is trying to sell everyone a diet and his studies and references are sponsored by industries that are favored by his diet. He developed the diet, then developed data to support his theory.

Fad diets show studies that support their theory. Does anyone disagree with this?
Loren Cordain's research mostly has to do with hunter-gatherer and paleolithic man populations. The research shows how human development centered around a low-carb, high-fat, moderate-protein diet. The only thing Cordain sells is his book outlining the tenets of the paleo diet. He doesn't sell any supplements or diet products like the Atkins people do. He doesn't stand to gain anything from the dietary choices of the people who read his book, other than some kind of vindication.

Cordain is a professor at Colorado State University. Most of his research is funded by university research grants and NSF grants. His work is based on sound analyses of anthropological and prehistorical data, empirical studies of nutritional sources, and careful reading of literature. His papers are published in numerous peer-reviewed journals and are respected for their scientific integrity as well as their insight. His dietary advice derives from what he has found in his studies, not the other way around.

I took a look through the published articles on Cordain's website just to see what industries were supporting his research. Out of 42 listed studies, just one was supported by a grant from the Gatorade Sports Science Institute. One was supported by the Purdue University Agricultural Center and the Pope and Young Conservation Club, a bow-hunting organization. One more was funded in part by the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine. The rest of them came directly out of his university lab. There were three book chapters that might generate some meager royalties, but nothing even close to paint him as the corporation-supported quack you make him out to be.

Originally Posted by CoeyCoey View Post
How many athletes do you know who eat a high protein diet? The best endurance athletes in the world eat 75%+ carbs in their diets.

The higher the whole food carbs, the better the physical performance. Does anyone disagree with this?
Power-lifters, strongmen, sprinters, swimmers, track athletes, field athletes, football players, and gymnasts all eat high amounts of protein. Carbs are essential post-training to replenish glycogen (intramuscular fuel), but beyond that have no biological requirement. In excess they also cause bloat and lethargy, something that no athlete wants to deal with since it damages performance. As such, carb is limited to post-practice and simple carbs are emphasized over complex to speed recovery.

As a side note, have you ever seen how much muscle a marathon runner carries? Next to none. Marathoners have a lanky, metabolically efficient frame that burns next to no calories on its own so that energy can be preserved for long-distance running. I don't want to look like that. IMO it appears quite unhealthy.

My rules:
1) eat real food - more vegetables, moderate meat, moderate fruits, less grains, less sugar, less vegetable oils.
2) exercise - moderate intensity cardio, sprinting, heavy lifting, dedicated stretching and mobility.
3) live - relax, de-stress, meditate.

Disclaimer: I'm not professionally qualified to make any formal recommendations. I've just done my homework and I'm my own guinea pig. All of my data, unless otherwise cited, comes from a sample size of n=1 (me).

Last edited by tandoorichicken; 07-01-2010 at 09:18 PM.
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